FTC rejects Facebook’s argument on online teen privacy

he Federal Trade Commission has reportedly rejected Facebook’s argument that states shouldn’t regulate online teen privacy.

The FTC said that the social networking giant was misinterpreting a key children’s privacy law.


Facebook had argued that because Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) protections stop at age 12, that could be read as a clear message that ‘teenagers’ internet activities should not be subject to parental consent requirements, even under the auspices of state law.

According to the Washington Post, the FTC said in its filing that Facebook was wrong to say that, because the COPPA only protects the privacy of children under 12, that the law could be interpreted to keep states from enforcing their own laws on teen privacy.

This follows objection to a 2012 settlement over ‘Sponsored Stories,’ which featured users’ ‘likes’ and check-ins in advertisement.

The users said the 10 million dollar settlement does not require teens to get explicit permission from their parents before agreeing to show up in advertisements, in violation of state teen privacy laws in seven states.

The FTC rejecting the idea said that nothing in the language, structure of legislative history, could be interpreted to displace state protections of teenagers’ online privacy in their entirety.

The report said that privacy advocates from the Center for Digital Democracy and Public Citizen had publicly called on the agency to challenge Facebook’s interpretation after the settlement, and celebrated the agency’s brief.

Leave a Reply